Summer 2016, The Senses


Welcome to the second newsletter from the Aurora Collective. As the country has been basking in the sun, we hope you all had some time to relax and expand into that warmth, the beaches, the bush, or any other place you go to, to recharge your batteries for an exciting new year!

As we all get back into our ‘normal’ routine of school and work, (wishing the people in still shaky Christchurch can find ‘normal’ again very soon!) we hope to bring you again a newsletter full of information and hopefully some inspiration, this time on the theme of the senses. 

You will find an article that describes our senses, and not just the usual 5 we are all familiar with, but 12 senses that are the gateways to becoming aware of our own bodies, our environment, and the people around us. This looks at the organs for the senses, what we perceive with each one of them, and how they relate to each other. 

Robyn Ritchie, a pediatric occupational therapist working at the Helios Center in Christchurch, guides us a bit deeper into the developmental picture of two of these senses: the sense of life in the first years of life, and how this forms the basis of, and transforms into, the sense of thought in later life.

Robert Sardello and Cheryl Sanders are the co-writers of the chapter: “Care of the Senses: A Neglected Dimension of Education” in the book: Education, Information, and Imagination: Essays on Learning and Thinking, edited by J. Kane. With their permission we have included the whole chapter, in which they explore very wide psychological and other effects of the senses on the developing child, and how we can support them in their education, both in schools and at home.

This is followed by two articles that gives us very different insights, one written by Oliver Sacks, which appeared in the New York Review in 1990, and the other appeared in the Dominion Post earlier this month.

Some of the therapists at Aurora will then describe how their own work is supporting the healthy development of the senses.


And to entice us all to a feast of the senses, there will also be a recipe from Debbie ter Borg, inspired by her summer garden.

Have a look as well in the “What’s on?” column to see if there is anything there that might interest you.


We hope this will inspire you this term to lots of reading, study and great discussions, and to explore how all this may be of importance in your own lives.


Happy reading!


“What are our senses?”

In the article here attached, you will find a description of not just the 5 senses we are all familiar with, touch, smell, taste, vision and hearing, but on top of these, it describes 7 more. It describes how we have senses that tell us something about our own body, where it begins and ends, how it feels, how it moves, and how it can be still, so that we can orientate towards the world around us. Then it describes the 4 senses with which we explore that surrounding world, and how we can find out about the qualities of all we see, taste, smell and feel. The last 4 senses develop out of transformation of our healthy body senses and become our social senses, they help us to understand what it is someone is trying to tell us, and through that, who this other person is and how we can connect with the people around us, sense who they really are.

Five senses, what about 12


“The Sense of Life, The vehicle for the Sense of Thought.”

    Robyn Ritchie, Paediatric Occupational Therapist.

If you click here: TheSenseofLife, you will find an article that takes us step by step on how the sense of life develops in the little child, looking at it neurologically and organically, as well as through all the experiences the little child has. From there she takes us through the following stages of development and how this sense is the basis for the development of the higher sense of thought.


“Care of the Senses:

A Neglected Dimension of Education”

Robert Sardello, Ph.D. and Cheryl Sanders, M.S.

This is a chapter in: Jeffery Kane (ed.), Education, Information, and Imagination: Essays on Learning and Thinking, Prentice-Hall/Merril, Columbus, Ohio, 1999.

You can find the whole chapter here: Sardello_Sanders_CareoftheSenses

Robert Sardello, Ph.D. is co-founder of the School of Spiritual Psychology based in Great Barrington, Ma. and a faculty member of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, Texas, and the Chalice of Repose Project, Missoula, Montana, a training program for caring for the dying through sacred music. He is former chairman of the Department of Psychology, University of Dallas; former director, the Institute of Philosophic Studies, University of Dallas and a practicing psychotherapist for over twenty years, working in Jungian and Archetypal Psychology. He developed a spiritual psychology based in Jung and Rudolf Steiner. He is the author of Facing the World with Soul, Love and the Soul: Creating a Future for Earth, and Freeing the Soul from Fear; editor of The Angels and co-editor of Stirrings of Culture, and author of more than 100 articles.

Cheryl Sanders, M.S. is a co-founder of the School of Spiritual Psychology, and an addiction counselor and teacher, having worked in public agencies and private practice for 18 years. She co-founded a program in Perinatal Intervention at Parkland Hospital, Dallas, and conducts workshops on forming community coalitions for women and minority groups for health and human services. She also conducts workshops for faculties and parents dealing with teaching about abuse, violence, and addictive behaviors.



Neurology and the Soul, by  Oliver Sacks

In the New York Review, November 20, 1990, Oliver Sacks published an article in which he explores the understanding of the brain through history, and grapples with the chasm between the science of the brain, and what he has met over the years, in his research and meeting the clients in his work as a neurologist. In this article he also explores the importance of sensory stimulation and integration.

He starts with :

“There has always, seemingly, been a split between science and life, between the apparent poverty of scientific formulation and the manifest richness of phenomenal experience. (   ) This chasm – which is smallest in physics, where we have spectacularly powerful theories of countless physical processes- is overwhelming in biology, in the study, above all, of mental processes and inner life, for these are, unlike physical existence , distinguished by extreme complexity, unpredictability and novelty; by inner principles of autonomy, identity and will (   ); and by a continuous becoming, evolution and development.”

Further along in his article he says:P1020364

“This evolution of Self, this active growth and learning and becoming of the individual, is made possible by ‘selection’, the strengthening of  connections within neuronal groups in accordance with the individuals’s experiences (and needs and beliefs and desires). This process of selection cannot arise, cannot even start, unless there is movement- it is movement that makes possible all perceptual categorisation.”

He ends the article with: 

“In his last letter Goethe wrote, “The ancients said that the animals are taught through their organs; let me add to this, so are men, but they have the advantage of teaching their organs in return.” Through experience, education, art, and life, we teach our brains to become unique. We learn to be individuals. This is a neurological learning, so that finally neurology and the soul do come together completely in a way which dignifies neurology, and which is no indignity to the soul.”

You can find the whole article here: neurosoul


Is there a link between sensory stimulation and the development of ADHD?

The Dominion Post of Friday 19 February 2016, had an article printed with the title: “Star Wars did not cause ADHD, but… Technology’s evolution to a fast pace may have more to answer for than we think.” “The unfolding parallel between the growth of technology in our lives and the increase of ADHD cannot be ignored, and… Star Wars is an inescapable data point.”

Apart from the question of ‘what’ is stimulating our senses, we must also ask the question ‘how fast’, the speed of the impressions our senses are stimulated with. Does it make a difference if I watch the sun set in real time, or if these pictures enter my eyes via a screen, which has cut and sped up the images/pictures my eyes and through them my brain, is ‘seeing’?

This article by Michael Oberschneider was first printed in the Washington Post, and in it he looks at research about the speed with which images change in the films and other screen images we are exposed to, since the 1970’s. Before that time, a camera would hold a same shot for several minutes, and scenes would be played out in a similar tempo as our own time. George Lucas’s editing of Star Wars changed that for the first time, with several camera-angles and cuts in just 15 seconds, all depicting the same scene. That speed of images ‘bombarding’ the eyes, and the nervous system, has sped up since then with every decade. Research shows the link between brain development in the young child and the exposure to these fast changing images that the developing brain is exposed to, and the chances of developing ADHD in childhood.

I have scanned the article, and attached the scans for you here: Scan0003 and Scan0002 I hope you can read it.


Reflections on how some of the therapies offered through Aurora can support the senses.

All therapies offered through Aurora stimulate the development of Self through an intentional support of the senses. The sense of warmth, real enthusiasm, openness and interest in the client, which allows them to find their own safe space and time for development and expression, is the basis of every meeting we have. 

P1020399Supportive Nursing Care:

Through the applications of oils, compresses, wrapping and rest, supportive nursing care engages the senses of warmth, life, rhythm, touch and movement. This enables the client to engage more freely with what comes towards them in life.


Eurythmy Movement Therapy:
Eurythmy is a movement therapy which specifically engages the senses of movement, balance, and the sense of life and rhythm. It exercises the client in these lower body senses, building a capacity to stand in the world with greater confidence.
Word pictures and stories are expressed in purposeful gestures that evoke an active response in the client’s imagination and feelings. The client is an active and conscious participant. The therapy facilitates and nurtures a mindful space through awareness of the body in movement. This self-awareness forms the foundation that promotes health and self-healing.


Sculpture therapy:P1020398
Touching, manipulating, kneading and forming a lump of clay into a sculptural shape, is working with the senses of touch, life, movement and balance. To recognise the gesture and meaning expressed in a form is working with the senses of word and thought. Giving a sculpture a name, finding its essence, is using our sense of ego.
By directly engaging the body senses in the activity of sculpting, and the social senses in observing the work, we strengthen the ability to meet the world and the other from a more secure center.


The Extra Lesson Developmental Programme:

Extra Lesson primarily works with the lower senses and educating the ‘Will': balance, life, movement and touch. These senses are addressed through games using movement and stillness, rhythm, speech, and drawing and/or painting. Working through the movement exercises in a developmental order, strengthens the imprinting and integration of body geography and spatial awareness, necessary for ease in completing tasks, both in gross and fine motor skills, ease in uprightness and fluidity in movement. These skills in turn, facilitate the faculties of academic and social learning through the senses of word, thought and ego.

All therapies offered through Aurora intentionally engage the active stimulation of the senses. Through the weekly rhythms, times of pause, rest and stillness in the sessions, they offer the opportunity for integration, growth and reflection.
For more information on these and other therapies on offer, and contact details of the therapists, please go to therapies or therapists in the menu above.


“Kitchen Corner”

Summer SnippetP1020383

Another peep into the garden and we see that fruiting vegetables are the order of the day……. beans, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. are the stars of the summer garden and, with their natural cooling qualities, lend themselves perfectly to summer salad creations!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Use a potato peeler or similar to slice zucchini lengthwise into ribbons

Put ribbons into colander and sprinkle salt over them

Leave at least 15 minutes, then gently squeeze out excess moisture

Mix gently with dressing


Whisk together equal quantities of olive oil and lemon juice

Add lemon zest, chopped mint and freshly ground black pepper




Debbie ter Borg has studied nutrition, and has from a very young age, been interested in “nourishment” in the very widest sense of the word. She enjoys the magical “in depth” and “from scratch” kitchen and garden experiences, which she shares generously with others.

She has founded and worked for 5 years in ‘The Kitchen Club’ at Te Ra School, Raumati South, where she also taught the children in class 5. She has worked with young mothers and other people in many workshops on nutrition, and is a founding member of the Koha Café at Great Start, Taita, Lower Hutt, where she teaches cooking. If you want to get in touch with her with your questions on nutrition, you can email her on:


“What’s on?”

In the Belly of the Whale School of Storytelling is delighted to announce to residents of the Wellington region that we have invited a storytellLouiseer of international repute to visit us in March.

Louise Coigley is a storyteller with ‘a voice like melted chocolate’ and a presence that invites her audience to listen with their hearts.

Louise has developed a method of working with children and adults with learning challenges called ‘Lis’n Tell: Live Inclusive Storytelling’. Louise will offer a workshop of two days to learn this method in Paekakariki on Tuesday and Wednesday 15th & 16th March. There are a few places available and booking is essential.



From her many years of experience of working with adults and children, Louise has developed a storytelling performance entitled ‘Foibles and Fables: the Misadventures of Speech and Language Therapist Miss Coigley’ which she will present in St Peter’s Hall on Friday evening 18th March – bookings recommended and door sales available from 7pm. For adults and teenagers 15 and over – $15. Performance begins at 7.30pm with a short break and ends at 9pm.

foibles and fables


For further information please see Louise’s website:

Or call Judith Frost-Evans 04-2398346/021-1121244



A great place to find handy tips on how to reduce sensory overload can be found at:

Kim John Payne has written the book ‘Simplicity Parenting for Life’ and has three video’s online where he gives handy tips on how to reduce thP1020365e sensory stimulation our modern children are meeting in everyday life.

In his earlier work in youth centers for children struggling with life, and his later work in East Asia with people with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after the wars, he noticed similarities in what he saw in the behaviour of both groups. This led him to explore if there were indeed similar effects, and how we then can help children in our modern society by reducing the sensory impressions.


ASK Trust (a charitable trust for and by ASD adults) has a large library of ASD books (over 500 titles), which can be borrowed by post (or in person by special arrangement, as they’re based on Kapiti Coast). The catalogue can be viewed on their website , and items borrowed by emailing your request to The current cost to borrow is $5 per book, or $30 annually for unlimited number of books (max. two at a time) – plus postage if applicable.


The one day workshop on ASD is postponed till later in the year. We will keep you posted in our next newsletter with more information on this.


Working aP1020374t the Clayfield

This is a form of art therapy, which uses a tray filled with clay, in which children and adults can, in a very non threatening way, explore, digest, and work through trauma, developmental delays, sensory issues etc. For more information you can go to, or read the book “Trauma Healing at the Clay Field” by Cornelia Elbrecht.

 We are working to bring Cornelia Elbrecht to New Zealand in 2017, to offer the training to work with the clay field. It will most likely happen over two, 2 week periods, during the year. Details of the training will come out later, but if you are interested and want to put your name down, please let Lut Hermans know via email:






If you want to get in touch with any of the Aurora Therapists, please visit our website: You will find all contact details, descriptions of the different therapies and biographies of the therapists there. You can also contact us there via the ‘contact us’ page.

For questions and suggestions for contributions to the upcoming newsletters, you can also email Lut Hermans on



If you want to subscribe to this newsletter, or you no longer wish to receive it, please send a little message to:

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone you think might be interested.



In the next Aurora Newsletter we will explore anxiety, a phenomenon that seems to be more and more prevalent in today’s world.

Some suggestions for further issues are child development, looking at each of the therapies on offer in more depth etc. If you have any questions and/or suggestions, please let us know.